Vail Valley preps: Wow, I am getting older and Linder’s just fast |

Vail Valley preps: Wow, I am getting older and Linder’s just fast

SPT Nordic Jessica Linder DT 12-13-08

Editor’s note: This is the third in a three-part series looking back at Eagle County high school sports in 2008-09.

– Colt Ewing, Matt Kottenstette and Joe Bajza. Great names and great wrestlers who went to state. Ewing is like the 27th kid with his name to go through Eagle Valley, or at least it just seems that way. Bajza just sounds like Joe Mantegna’s character in “The Godfather, Part III.” And then there’s Matt Kottenstette. (I love typing that.)

– Also when I think of wrestling I think of Devils assistant coach Luke Cross. Yes, I know Ron Beard is the head honcho. I love the red shirt and the black hat, too. But Luke? I covered him when he was in high school (shh … at Battle Mountain). So to review, the coaches I’ve covered way back when include Chris Gamble (Vail Christian track), Vinny Cisneros (VMS basketball), Lara Bossow (Battle Mountain volleyball) and Cross. Wow, I’ve been here a while.

– VMS Nordic … really scary good. Skate or classic ” didn’t really matter. Fitz, Ryerson and Woods sounds like a law firm, but Robert, Tony and Sean and their counterparts of Kaitlin and Lauren Zdechlik and Sally Ryerson all put on a show in Leadville, as the Gore Rangers romped to a Nordic title.

– I know Vail Christian doesn’t have a Senior Award for its best male and female athletes, but if it did, the latter is unquestionably Jessica Linder. State cross country? Check. State track? Check. State skiing? Check. Oh, by the way, two gold medals in Nordic at state, the first for a Vail Christian athlete. Insert Arsenio Hall woofs here.

– So I go to a baseball game where Eagle Valley summarily beats Battle Mountain as is the norm. The scary thing is when I interview Jack Barbella he says the Devils weren’t happy with how they hit that day. Apparently they could hit better. That scares me.

As it turns out Barbella is quite right. The Devils tear the cover off the ball all season on the way to second place in the Slope. By the way, what got into Robert Padget? Last year I saw him hitting eighth. This year, he’s is the big-bopping cleanup hitter. Nice job, kid.

– Battle Mountain soccer does not crush everyone in its wake and the world actually continues to keep spinning on its axis. With apologies to Hans and Franz, remember me now and hear me later, this season is only going to make this program better. The twice-per-year crushings of Delta got old. The Huskies will be ready for the Valor Christian Tournament next year as well as Steamboat Springs. This was really a good thing in the long run.

By the way, remember how everyone says soccer coach David Cope doesn’t like to play underclassmen like Moira Laughlin, Syd Idzikowski, Haille Hogfeldt, Emmy Young and Maddie Stevens? Just asking.

– VMS soccer wears orange in the spring for the first time since 2006 as the Gore Rangers fall to Denver Christian. Holy irony, Batman. It was Denver Christian-VMS in 2006 as well. CHSAA might as well given Battle Mountain Golden in the playoffs as well. Never mind.

– Sappy moment from your sports editor now: Way to go, Mia Bandoni. I remember seeing Mia and Emily as tots playing with their dog at a Nordic race I was covering when I started here, and now Mia’s off to college? She’s also a heck of a soccer player, and we’re presuming that she got all her athletic talent from Mom.

– Regionals or the top-18 in the state was the subject of conversation all spring in track. Eagle Valley likely would have had a few more relay teams go but, by and large, those who went to state were the ones that should have. It was a bit of a rebuilding year for the local teams, but the coolest moment of the season had to be Huskies coach Jeff Krumlauf calling a runner at prom to tell him that he punched his ticket to state. Connor Tedstrom must have enjoyed that dance a lot.

– Lacrosse, it’s a high school sport. I ended up covering the first Battle Valley-Eagle Mountain game, which the Devils won, 9-6. (For the record, the Huskies won the rematch handily.) First, I really enjoyed a competitive back-and-forth game between these two schools which is all too rare. It happened in boys soccer this year and it’s usually the case in volleyball and boys basketball, but that’s it.

As a side note, to all those in Gypsum, this Eagle Valley lacrosse win is why I root for Battle Mountain come Week 9 in football. It’s not because I “like” the Huskies better. I just don’t want to see 47-14 every year, which it pretty much has been since 1997. While beating the snot out of your archrival is fun if you’re on the right end of things, it’s boring compared to what it could be. I’d like to see Battle Mountain improve, so that it’s 14-14 going into the fourth quarter and then we have a memorable finish with a playoff berth on the line, and hopefully, the snow is falling too. Whoever wins, great, but this needs to be a rivalry in more than just geography.

Back to lacrosse, it was a great game and it also shows what this sport can be. Both sets of local squads were young and it showed this spring, but give this a few years, and this is going to be riveting theater.

– It wasn’t all peaches and cream. Battle Mountain football and girls basketball and Eagle Valley girls soccer all failed to win a game. I can assure you that David Joyce, Andrew Schmid and Francois Nanin, the respective coaches of these teams, truly believe that brighter days are ahead. As a San Francisco Giants fan, who’s used to disappointment, I tend to agree.

And that’s the great thing with high school sports. We’ll do this all over again, starting with two-a-days in August.

See you then.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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